'Computer malware described as "the most sophisticated cyber weapon yet unleashed" has been uncovered in computers in the Middle East and may have infected machines in Europe, according to reports from antivirus researchers and software makers in Russia, Hungary and Ireland.
The malware, dubbed Worm.Win32.Flame, is unusual in its complexity, size and the multitude of ways it has of harvesting information from an infected computer including keyboard, screen, microphone, storage devices, network, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB and system processes.
The malware is called "Flame" by Kaspersky Labs, a Moscow-based antivirus software maker, but also known as sKyWIper by the Hungarian Laboratory of Cryptography and System Security (CrySyS Lab).
Both Kaspersky Labs and CrySyS Lab said it was likely the malware was developed by a government-sponsored entity.
"The geography of the targets [certain states are in the Middle East] and also the complexity of the threat leaves no doubt about it being a nation state that sponsored the research that went into it," Kaspersky Labs said in a report.
"The results of our technical analysis supports the hypotheses that sKyWIper was developed by a government agency of a nation state with significant budget and effort, and it may be related to cyber warfare activities," a CrySyS Lab report said. "Arguably, it is the most complex malware ever found."
Although the virus has just been detected, there was evidence that it may have been in operation for at least two years.
Vitaly Kamluk, chief malware expert for Kaspersky Labs, said there were many pointers to it being a weapon, not the least of which was how highly-targeted it was. According to their investigations, only 382 infections have been reported, 189 of which were in Iran, and the malware targeted individuals rather than organizations.
Kamluk said the malware was most likely introduced by a USB stick or other removable drive. Once injected, the malware would contact one of the many command and control servers around the world and download additional modules as needed.
It used the same technique as Stuxnet, an earlier highly sophisticated malware, to seek out other machines to infect.'
Katy bar the door. The mother of all meltdowns, a financial event that
would make the Mayan apocalypse (also scheduled for next fall) look
like a high school pep rally, could be upon us much sooner than we
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'In an interview this week with The Miami Herald, Zimmerman's father criticized Corey, who he accused of deliberately ignoring evidence that would corroborate the self defense claim by filing a probable cause affidavit that swore to facts it's unclear they can prove.
"They went with the information they had reasonable belief that was untrue, and they swore it was true. Some day, that will come out," Robert Zimmerman said. "Someone should go to jail over that affidavit. They will be studying it in criminal justice classes for years to come."
Zimmerman is a retired magistrate from Virginia, and part of his job was to review affidavits and determine whether an arrest was merited.
He said he feared that jurors could find Zimmerman guilty of manslaughter to appease the public. He was torn about whether it would be best to have a trial – where all the evidence would be aired out – or have the case dismissed by a judge.
Florida's Stand Your Ground law gives Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester the right to throw out the case if he determines that Zimmerman was in reasonable fear for his life. If he does, Zimmerman said, it would also offer his son immunity in a civil court.'
'A Chinese military newspaper has warned that the country's armed forces will not allow anyone to challenge China's sovereignty of a tiny island outcrop in the South China Sea.
China and the Philippines have been involved in a tense standoff since April 10 when the Philippines Navy accused Chinese boats of fishing illegally in waters off the Scarborough Shoal, some 130 miles (200 kilometers) from the Philippines island of Luzon.
They attempted to arrest the crew but were blocked by Chinese surveillance vessels deployed in the area.
Both countries claim the shoal, which China calls Huangyan Island. Analysts believe the area is rich in mineral resources, natural gas and oil.'
'China warned its nationals against traveling to the Philippines, canceled tours and raised trade barriers on imported pineapples and bananas as the squabble over disputed fishing grounds in the South China Sea grew more intense.
At issue is a triangular-shaped cluster of reefs known as Scarborough Shoal about 130 miles from the Philippines' Subic Bay. The Chinese call it Huangyan Island and complain that the Philippine navy has been harassing its fishing boats there.
In keeping with the prevailing jingoism, a Chinese journalist on Thursday posted a photograph of himself planting a Chinese flag on an outcropping of rock. An enthusiastic microblogger promised, "We'll plant the flag all the way to Manila.''
"We want to say that anyone's attempt to take away China's sovereignty over Huangyan Island will not be allowed by the Chinese government, people and armed forces," warned the PLA Daily, the newspaper of the People's Liberation Army in an article Wednesday entitled, "Don't Attempt to Take Away Half an Inch of China's Territory."
Filipino activists have planned demonstrations Friday at Chinese embassies. As a result, Beijing issued a warning for Chinese citizens in Manila to stay indoors. In Beijing, Filipinos residing in China got a similar advisory from their embassy.'
'The embassy also discouraged Chinese nationals from going out today (Friday).
"In case of demonstrations, take a detour; do not join the crowd," the advisory said.
It also asked its citizens to maintain a "low profile to avoid a dispute with the locals."
The advisory was released on Monday after tensions in the South China Sea, particularly the ongoing standoff in Scarborough Shoal, intensified following the warning of the Chinese government, based on Chinese state media report, that it is ready to "respond to anything the Philippine side does to escalate the situation."
On Monday, China's Vice-Foreign Minister Fu Ying summoned Alex Chua, charge d'affaires of the Philippine embassy in China "to make a serious representation" over the tension in Scarborough Shoal.
The Akbayan party-list group, which is leading the mass actions, said it expects tens of thousands in the "global day of action" against China today. Organizers said the rallies will be held simultaneously in the country as well as in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Houston in the United States; as well as in Rome, Vancouver, Hong Kong, Sydney and Singapore.'
'China's Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying said Tuesday that Beijing is ready for "any escalation" in the tense naval standoff with the Philippines in the South China Sea. Beijing's bellicose rhetoric worries Manila, by any measure no match for China. Faced with the prospect of the Chinese bullying them in bilateral talks, or even open conflict, Filipinos may be thinking back fondly to the days when massive U.S. naval and air bases guaranteed them security seemingly in perpetuity.
The political debate over whether to renew the nearly century-old leases was pitched in nationalist terms. In September 1991, the Philippine Senate voted 12-11 against, forcing the U.S. to abandon Clark Air Base north of Manila and Subic Bay, across the Zambales Mountains to the northwest on the South China Sea. They were two of the largest U.S. bases in the world, from which Washington staged operations from Vietnam to the Middle East.
Jovito Salonga, then Philippine Senate president, recounted his anti-bases crusade in a book entitled "The Senate That Said No." Juan Ponce Enrile, a senator who helped oust dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, joined the anti-base forces after having worked with U.S. military leaders for years as defense secretary.
Now the question of a revived U.S. role in the country's defense is back on the table. The senators who said no have mostly retired or passed on. Mr. Salonga, now in his 90s, is notably silent.'